Wallabies bring in former All Blacks skills coach Byrne

Former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne has returned to Australia, signing with the Wallabies until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Byrne, 57, worked with the Wallabies from 1998-2000 as a kicking coach before heading abroad, including being part of three World Cup campaigns with New Zealand.

The former AFL player returned to Brisbane after his stint in New Zealand ended, becoming national director of sport at Sportstek Academies.

"The challenge to coach some aspiring athletes this past year has been really rewarding, especially enabling them to develop their skills and progress with their studies. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed," Byrne said.

"Being back in home Australia, and closer to the rugby community, I have seen some great progress in the game, and I’m looking forward to being part of its development alongside some very talented coaches, players and passionate administrators of the game.

"Working in a high-performance environment, with similar minded people, is something that I missed in time away from professional sport.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside people with similar aspirations for the sport here in Australia."

Australian Rugby Union (ARU) general manager of high performance Ben Whitaker welcomed the addition of Byrne.

He said: "Mick's appointment is part of the ARU's strategic plan to engage the best staff with expert capabilities to develop key areas across all levels of the sport.

"As national skills coach, Mick will be working closely with the Wallabies program and across our Super Rugby teams as well as having an active involvement in developing skills across age grade teams, sevens and our Wallaroos.

"His success speaks for itself, having played elite sport for many years before transferring those skills to coaching and working across several successful national programs."